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Anti-malarial mechanism unraveled

By | April 23, 2002

For more than 50 years antifolate drug therapy has been used successfully to treat malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. It had been assumed that differences between host and parasite in terms of the drug binding to dihydrofolate reductase-thymidylate synthase (DHFR-TS) were responsible for this success. But, in 19 April Science, Kai Zhang and Pradipsinh Rathod of University of Washington, Seattle, show that it may be differences in the regulation of DHFR between host and parasite that explai

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Retroviral risk

By | April 23, 2002

Gene therapy with retroviral vectors can increase the risk of developing leukemia.

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Wilson leaves UPenn's gene therapy institute

By | April 23, 2002

Director oversaw experiment that led to death of 18-year-old patient in 1999.

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Control of bone remodelling

By | April 22, 2002

Constant remodelling of bones — up to 10% of the total mass every year — helps to maintain the optimal levels of calcium in the blood and also the structural function of the skeleton, but the identity of the molecules involved in controlling this process remains unclear. In April 18 Nature, Hiroshi Takayanagi and colleagues from University of Tokyo show that interferon-β (IFN-β) is pivotal in regulating bone homeostasis (Nature 2002, 416:744-749).Takayanagi et al. observed

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FOXO transcription factor stimulates repair

By | April 22, 2002

The protein kinase Akt promotes cell survival by phosphorylating and inhibiting FOXO forkhead transcription factors. FOXO factors have been linked to stress responses and the regulation of longevity. In the April 19 Science, Hien Tran and colleagues at Boston's Children's Hospital define a role for the FOXO3a family member in the response to DNA damage (Science 2002, 296:530-534).Tran et al. created a Rat-1 fibroblast cell line expressing a tamoxifen-inducible FOXO3a protein. FOXO3a expression r

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Nematode susceptibility genes

By | April 22, 2002

Parasitic nematode infections show a characteristic grouping among hosts, but the genes that predispose humans to these infections remain unknown. In April 16 online Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, Sarah Williams-Blangero and colleagues from Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research show that genes on chromosomes 1 and 13 are significant for the human infection with the roundworm Ascaris lumbricoides (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:5533-5538).Williams-Blangero et al. performed a

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Green revolution

By | April 19, 2002

The 'green revolution' refers to the development of improved crops, such as the high-yield semi-dwarf (sd) rice variant called IR8 that saved the world from a chronic food shortage in the 1960s. In the April 18 Nature, Sasaki et al. describe the molecular characterization of the IR8 variant (Nature 2002, 416:701-702).Mutation of the sd1 gene is the reason for IR8's short stature. Sasaki et al. report that sd1 encodes an oxidase enzyme involved in the biosynthesis of the plant hormone gibberellin

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Pseudomonas switch to resistance

By | April 19, 2002

Pseudomonas aeruginosa grows as biofilms in the lungs of patients with cystic fibrosis (CF) but it remains unclear if the bacteria persist because the biofilms are antibiotic-resistant or if resistant variants are selected by antimicrobial therapy itself. In April 18 Nature, Eliana Drenkard and Frederick Ausubel of Harvard Medical School show that Pseudomonas biofilm formation and antibiotic resistance are linked to phenotypic variation and are switched on together.Drenkard & Ausubel observe

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CDK7 in C. elegans

By | April 18, 2002

CDK7 is a kinase thought to play dual roles in transcription and cell cycle regulation by phosphorylating the carboxy-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II and also phosphorylating other cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs). In the April 16 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Matthew Wallenfang and Geraldine Seydoux at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine describe a study of the C. elegans cdk-7 gene (Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2002, 99:315-320).They conducted a genome-wide screen

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Hirschsprung genes

By | April 18, 2002

Short-segment Hirschsprung disease (S-HSCR) involves interactions between just three loci.

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